It’s Autumn, even if the temperature has made it feel like endless summer, but it is time to think of fall tree tasks!
First, if you have one of the city’s Gator Bags on your tree, please take it off around Thanksgiving, store it in the garage or basement, and put it back on around St. Patrick’s Day. If your tree has been in the ground two years now, and you have a bag still in good shape, please drop it off at the home of one of the tree board members. We will re-use it for this year’s new trees. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to freshen your tree mulch for the winter. Remember—don’t cone it up. Just give it a nice 2-3 inches, and leave a few inches around the trunk to allow the tree to breathe.
Our maintenance program has been amazingly popular—with about 45 families taking advantage of the reimbursement program to get their trees in good shape! To take an opportunity to catch up on our financials, and because trees can not be effectively diagnosed without leaves, we need to pause the program until Spring to verify that we have not spent our allocated $20,000. If you would like to participate, contact us around February 1st, 2017. Your work must be complete by May 1st.
Also, new trees will be planted soon, and by the time these trees are in the ground, we will have planted 150 trees! Your next opportunity to get on the tree list is for Spring, 2017. The list is ongoing, so apply any time.
Finally, Joe Hinkle of the tree board took on the task of finding good uses for your beautiful fall leaves! Leaves do not have to be a burden—take a look at the following ideas, offered by Margaret Boyles in the Farmer’s Almanac!
WHAT TO DO WITH FALL LEAVES
Leaves have already started their decent. Why not put them to good use right at home? The Farmer’s Almanac has some examples:
Leave them in place and mow over them a few times. The easiest solution. The chopped leaves will break down quickly in spring and add valuable organic matter and mineral nutrients to the lawn.
Spread them as protective mulch. Leaves make a good insulating cover for overwintering tender perennials or root crops stored in the ground. A heavy leaf cover allows fall-planted garlic to root without sprouting, and prevents shallow-rooted strawberries from heaving during winter’s freeze-thaw cycles.
Use them as a weed barrier for spring plantings. Chopped or left whole, leaves make excellent mulch for vegetable crops, blueberries (and other berries), and ornamental shrubs. They not only suppress weeds and help retain soil moisture, but because they contain no weed seeds themselves, they won’t encourage the spread of new weeds.
Make compost. Carbon-rich leaves pair well with summer’s nitrogen-rich grass clippings. Layer three or four inches of old leaves with an inch of fresh grass clippings or other green leafy yard waste.
Make leaf mold. Leaf mold is a special kind of all-leaf compost much beloved byEnglish gardeners. It simply involves collecting and storing leaves, shredded or not, in plastic bags or wire bins. Keep the leaves moist, and let the fungi take over. After two or three years, the leaves will have disintegrated into a dark, sweet-smelling, soil conditioner, high in essential minerals. Its exceptional water-retentive property makes it an ideal amendment for loose, sandy soil.
Store root vegetables. If you have a cool, humid spot, you can store carrots, beets, and other root vegetables between layers of crisp, freshly fallen leaves. Sprinkle each layer of leaves with water (don’t let them get soggy). If you don’t grow your own vegetables, visit a farmers’ market and try to find a vendors who will sell you half a bushel or more of your favorite root crops.
Source Boyles, Margaret. “What To Do with Fall Leaves.” The Farmer’s Almanac, Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.